Richard Hart (actor)

Richard Hart (actor)

:"This article is about the American actor. For other people named Richard Hart, see Richard Hart".

Richard Hart (April 14, 1915 – January 2, 1951) was an American actor. Hart appeared in film and on TV, but his chief love was the stage.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Hart was the son and grandson of Henry Clay Hart and Richard Borden Comstock, leading R.I. lawyers. He went to Moses Brown School and Brown University, where he was an all-American soccer player. He married his teenage sweetheart and worked as a journalist and at the Gorham Silver Company before becoming seriously interested in acting through a summer theater in Tiverton, R.I. That soon led to studying acting in New York, some off-Broadway roles and divorce from his wife, who chose to stay in Providence with their son.

Hart's big break came when, as resident juvenile in a summer theater at the Brattle Playhouse in Cambridge, Mass., he played John the witch boy, the lead role in a new play trying out there, "Dark of the Moon." The Shuberts took it to Broadway (1945), keeping little of the original company except Hart, who won a Theatre World Award for his debut. A Broadway run of 318 performances then led to a national tour and a contract with MGM.

For MGM, Hart appeared as a leading man in "Green Dolphin Street" (1947), where he was loved by two sisters, played by Lana Turner and Donna Reed (and supported by the great MGM stock company); in "Desire Me" (1947), as the villain who takes Greer Garson away from Robert Mitchum; and in the more forgettable "Reign of Terror" (1949). His role in "B.F.'s Daughter" (1948), opposite Barbara Stanwyck, was supporting.

He married an actress he had met in "Dark of the Moon," and had two daughters, then voluntarily left MGM to go back to the stage. Back on Broadway he appeared in a flop, "Leaf and Bough," then took over for Sam Wanamaker in "Goodbye, My Fancy," and had a hit as the original Uncle Desmonde in "The Happy Time," opposite Claude Dauphin and the young Eva Gabor.

He also did a lot of live TV on the Ford Theatre Hour, Masterpiece Playhouse and Studio One, playing such roles as Eilert Lovborg ("Hedda Gabler") and Marc Antony ("Julius Caesar"). He had played three episodes as Ellery Queen -- the first to do so on TV -- when he died suddenly at age 35 of a heart attack.

Hart's surviving acknowledged children are:
* Christopher Comstock Hart Rawson; as Christopher Rawson, he is theater critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and on the English faculty at the University of Pittsburgh.
* Hillary Hart, professor of writing in the Engineering School at the University of Texas.
* Sheila Hart Brown, who raises horses in Ohio.

External links

* [ IMDB entry for Richard Hart]
* [ "Looking for Richard," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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